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“Okay, spill,” my older brother demands as he lounges on my living room sofa, tossing back a swallow of beer. “You’re up to no good.”

I stare into my whiskey glass, repressing a grin. “What makes you say that?”

“You’re way too quiet not to be plotting something.”

He’s not wrong. “Guess.”

“Well, you tolerated Douglas Shay stealing the money from your joint venture years ago only because he paid you back—”

“After I threatened the living sh!t out of him.”

Steve nods. “So the a$$hole knows you won’t take the fact he stole your wife lying down.”

I snort. There’s no way I’d let that son of a b!tch steal from me twice.

“He didn’t.”

Julia and I were already on the verge of divorce. “After I showed her the door, she moved in with him.”

“Semantics. They were already f*cking.”

“By then, I didn’t care who she spread her legs for. We were done.” In fact, my heart purged Julia as soon as I realized she lied to me for a decade.

“Then what’s your beef with Shay?”

 “Besides the fact he’s a backstabbing a$$hole? Julia got half of everything in the divorce. Now she plans to marry that bastard, so he’ll get back all the money he once stole from me—with interest.”

Steve winces. “That would piss me off, too.”

“You’ll never have to worry about that, bro. You’ve got the best wife in Laurel.”

“I do,” Steve says smugly.

He deserves happiness—and his amazing wife. My sister-in-law is kind, generous, funny, smart… They have a great marriage and a passel of kids, the last of whom just left for college. Besides love, he’s also been blessed with money, success, and security. Steve is living the dream.

“I want the same for you, Nate. It’s been months since Julia and Doug announced their engagement, and you’ve let this go way longer than I expected.”

“Eleven months, seven days, and two hours. Who says I’ve let it go?”

“So you are up to no good.” Steve grins. “Tell me your plan.”

“Did I mention that Doug has a daughter?”

He raises a brow. “How old is she?”

“Fresh out of college. And looking for a job. Or she was until I hired her.”

His jaw drops. “You didn’t.”

“Oh, I did. She starts Monday.”

“Holy sh!t. Seriously? She must know there’s bad blood between you and Doug.”

“No. During her phone interview, she said she hadn’t spoken to her father in a while.”

“What did you hire her to do?”

I grin. “She’ll be my personal assistant, at my beck and call, working directly under me.”

He nearly chokes on his beer. “Dude, you’re forty.”

“So? I’m not dead.”

“How will you get her into bed, unless… You already have dirt on her, don’t you?”

I merely smile. My brother knows me too well to think I have qualms about blackmailing Isabella Shay.

“You son of a b!tch.” He laughs. “I almost feel sorry for her. But if she’s anything like her father…”

“Probably everything like her father.” Though I’ve barely talked to Isabella since she was a gangly thirteen.

“So…what’s your end game? What do you want from this girl besides raunchy s€x?”

“F*cking her will merely be a fringe benefit. Let’s just say that by the time Julia and Doug return from their honeymoon after New Year’s, everything he left behind will belong to me.” Including his daughter.

And she will give me the one thing my ex-wife never refused to…